Objectives. We sought to examine the efficacy of dietary supplementation of L-arginine on endothelium-dependent vasodilation in patients with congestive heart failure. Background. Endothelial dysfunction, as evidenced by a diminished response to such vasodilators as acetylcholine, is well defined in patients with heart failure. These responses are improved by intraarterial infusion with L-arginine. Because L-arginine is a semiessential amino acid, we investigated the effects of dietary L-arginine on endothelium-dependent vasodilation in these patients. Methods. Twenty patients with heart failure (New York Heart Association functional class III/IV, mean [±SE] age 51.3 ± 1.7 years) and seven healthy control subjects (mean age 52.6 ± 3.3 years) were studied. All patients continued taking their usual treatment. Responses to acetylcholine and sodium nitroprusside were determined using forearm plethysmography. Patients with heart failure received either L-arginine (20 g/day every day for 28 days) or placebo (vehicle syrup in equal amounts) in a double-blind protocol. The calculated power of the study was between 62% and 80% to detect a 30% to 40% change in area under the dose-response (forearm vascular resistance) curve. Results. Responses to acetylcholine, but not to sodium nitroprusside, were significantly attenuated in patients with heart failure compared with control subjects (mean area under curve [AUC], control subjects vs. patients with heart failure: 1,125.4 ± 164.5 vs. 617.3 ± 116.6 U, p < 0.05, by Student t test). A significant increase in urea and aspartate transaminase levels in patients receiving active L-arginine treatment was observed. Responses to acetylcholine (AUC; before vs. after L-arginine: 641.5 ± 126.7 vs. 695.9 ± 151.9 U) and sodium nitroprusside were not affected by either L-arginine or placebo. Conclusions. Endothelial dysfunction was apparent in patients with heart failure despite rigorous vasoactive treatment. Oral administration with L-arginine was ineffective in influencing endothelial function in these patients.
Chin-Dusting, J. P. F., Kaye, D. M., Lefkovits, J., Wong, J., Bergin, P., & Jennings, G. L. (1996). Dietary supplementation with L-arginine fails to restore endothelial function in Forearm resistance arteries of patients with severe heart failure. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 27(5), 1207–1213. https://doi.org/10.1016/0735-1097(95)00611-7